(Cabernet Sauvignon 85%, Cabernet Franc 7%, Merlot 6% & Malbec 2%)
Philosophie, is a brave endeavour in which we attempt to marry the mind, the heart and the soil as we celebrate the diversity of Vondeling.
THE STORY BEHIND THE LABEL
Each year a celebrated artist is recruited to illustrate a rare Paardeberg flower in the medium of their choice. This unique rendition is placed on a numbered selection of Vondeling’s finest bottles to create a series of collectable and rare wine.
This year, we’ve chosen the rare and endangered, Pauridia Capensis, commonly known as The Peacock Flower or Star of Winter, to be our flagbearer. This brave and vibrant bloom, beautifully illustrated by Edwina Ellis, is an apt choice for such a bold vintage.
In a handful of specific vineyards, we explore the absolute limits of quality with no consideration to cost. Once again, a small vineyard of ultra-low-yielding Cabernet Sauvignon, takes centre stage and is handsomely supported by fellow Bordeaux companions, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec.
Each vineyard is carefully assessed at the end of the growing season and attentively pruned during the winter months. At bud burst, any shoots which develop poorly are immediately removed. This ensures that the remaining shoots have plenty of energy to grow sturdy, fertile flowers and facilitate uniform berry set.
As the grapes develop only one bunch per cane is selected and the rest are dropped to the ground. This lowers the load on the vine, thereby removing any stress in the plant and allowing perfect flavour and tannin development. It also diminishes any need for irrigation and helps preserves the grape’s natural acidity.
Once deemed to have reached optimal ripeness the grapes are hand-picked and refrigerated for 24hrs. The bunches are carefully destemmed, and the berries individually sorted to remove any green material. The intact berries are then ferried, via conveyor belt, to open top fermenters for cold soaking.
Cold soaking is done at 6 degrees Celsius for a period of 5 days. Cold soaking is a process which promotes partial degradation of the grape cell wall, to allow the gentle extraction of fruit flavours and aromatics located just below the surface of the skin. Subtle tannin extraction protects these delicate flavours and promotes colour stability.
As the berries slowly come to room temperature, ambient yeast populations commence a spontaneous fermentation. This natural fermentation, by multiple wild yeast strains, is preferable, as it will ensure that the wine has complexity and character.
A cool fermentation temperature slows the rate of fermentation and affords the winemaker adequate time to assess and manipulate the character of the wine, thus unlocking its full potential.
The method of extraction is by regular, manual punch down and the wine is basket pressed after two weeks of maceration on the skins. From the press the wine moves directly to new 300L French Oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. This slow bacterial degradation of the wine’s harsher acidity has the welcome side effect of meshing the oak and natural fruit flavours together in a seamless package.
The wine remains on its yeast and malolactic lees for 14 months before the best 10 barrels are selected, blended and returned for an additional 8 months of maturation. Of these 10 barrels only 5 are selected for the final blend. The wine is bottled after 3 months in tank and bottle matured for at least two years before release.
TASTING NOTES & CELLARING & FOOD PAIRING
A deep, dark, vibrant red colour. A complex and sensuous nose of dark chocolate, black cherry, raspberry and sundried tomato. Beautifully infused with aromatic truffle, vanilla pod and subtle graphite undertones.
The palate is dense and bold yet shows some lovely classic restraint. Ripe plum and lilted cassis lead with underlying layers of cured tobacco leaf, salted olives and expressive, broad tannin.
Platter’s Guide 2018 4,5 Stars
Tim Atkin 93 Points
Total Acidity 6.0 g/l
Residual Sugar 4.4 g/l
Alcohol 14.3 %